I pride myself on my adventurous spirit, my willingness to try new things, my arrogant belief that I possess the ability to detach from creature comforts. Heck, I once went on a three week backpack and only bathed in the ice cold waters of the Sierra Nevada snow melt. I can handle anything.
After a lovely bus ride from Manilla up to Sherry’s Peace Corps site in the Cordillera (the Philippines’ highlands/mountains), I felt quite confident in this next leg of our adventure. Sherry began to show us around her home stay and now our accommodations in the small town of Tublay.
“This is the pull-out couch where we’ll set up a bed for you.” No worries there. “This is the kitchen, and we keep food in this cupboard, because of bugs.” Makes sense.
“And we do dishes here, but there’s no running water so there’s a little different method to cleaning them.” Like camping, easy.
“There isn’t a refrigerator, but Auntie Evelyn [Sherry’s home stay mom] doesn’t keep any perishables.” Still not sure why, but no big deal.
“And here’s the bathroom.” Oh, I got this one. There surely won’t be a shower curtain . . . but we’re now use to water spraying over the sink and the toilet and well, the whole bathroom becomes the shower, and that’s fine.
“But that shower head, it doesn’t work.” Oh? “So you just fill this bucket and use this cup to rinse yourself off.” Oh. Uh. Okay. “And remember there’s no water in the house right now, so just go fetch some from the spout outside.” Right, that’s what that was . . . it wasn’t the garden sink.
“And this is the toilet.” Looks normal. “You take this same bucket, fill it with water and pour it into the toilet when your done for a good ole’ gravity flush.” Sherry smiles. I try to, but more than anything, I’m simply humbled.
No running shower with endless hot water? A toilet that only flushes with a little human effort, a look at your own ‘movement,’ and good ole’ gravity? And Sherry did this for two years? I’m just not as cool as I thought.
(Sherry, our wonderful and patient guide, blogs about this trip and all her other adventures in the Philippines at: http://www.travelpod.com/z/sherrypace/4/1310773673 Check it out!)